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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 07-11-2012, 10:42 PM   #21
Bobby330xi
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Oregon Coast
Posts: 244
My Ride: '02 330 XI Auto
Cupped and abnormal tire wear can lead to internal ply separation. Severe cases show up as blisters on the sidewall. It is entirely possible the 'salesman' is correct. I have replaced several sets of tires to solve problems that I was sure were drivetrain related.
Under-inflation causes cupping. Overinflation causes center tread wear.
http://www.procarcare.com/includes/c...dtirewear.html
http://www.aa1car.com/library/tire_wear.htm

Extreme examples of wear patterns:
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Old 07-11-2012, 11:14 PM   #22
gferrer
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My Ride: '91 318is/ '03 325xi
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Originally Posted by Bobby330xi View Post
Cupped and abnormal tire wear can lead to internal ply separation. Severe cases show up as blisters on the sidewall. It is entirely possible the 'salesman' is correct. I have replaced several sets of tires to solve problems that I was sure were drivetrain related.
Under-inflation causes cupping. Overinflation causes center tread wear.
http://www.procarcare.com/includes/c...dtirewear.html
http://www.aa1car.com/library/tire_wear.htm

Extreme examples of wear patterns:
Awesome info! Thanks.. Do you know if any of these tires issues are reversible? I didn't think it would be but these tires still have more than 65% thread left. I am working on getting the car up on a lift to inspect the the all the under carriage. Thanks
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Old 07-12-2012, 12:29 AM   #23
Bobby330xi
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No problem! Not really reversible, but making sure your pressures are correct and the alignment is correct will go a long way. Also, just because the wheels are in balance does not mean they aren't bent or have excessive run-out. I have found wheels that balance OK on a machine, but look wobbley or wonky when you view them from the side while spinning on the machine or jacked up and spun by hand.

Last edited by Bobby330xi; 07-12-2012 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:01 PM   #24
Stryker336
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Location: Philadelphia
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Ever figure out what the exact cause was? I have a slight vibration from 50-65 mph too but haven't really inspected anything. I'm suspecting a bent rim considering I parallel park in Center City Philadelphia 3+ times a day since I'm stuck with street parking at my apartment. Not to mention 100+ scratches from dozens of cars trying to fit in behind me. Don't live in the city.
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:13 PM   #25
tomoyer
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Usually a vibration in the steering wheel that comes and goes at various speeds is either a bent wheel or a wheel that has lost wheel weights/isn't balanced any more OR worn out lower control arm ball joints and/or lower control arm bushings. The fact that you said that the steering also seems vague would suggest that it is the later. Worn out control arm ball joints and/or control arm bushings will cause vibration AND will also have a vague feel in steering response. If the lower control arms (which have the outer ball joint as part of them), the inner ball joints and the control arm bushings have never been changed in 100,000 miles, its time. You will also want to inspect the steering tie rods and the sway bar links, as these also have ball joints that will wear out over time and miles.
Bobby330xi, great pictures of the different types of tire tread wear and main reason for that type of wear.
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:17 PM   #26
gferrer
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In response to Stryker336:
What caused my shaking problem was "warped" tires. What I suggest doing is:

-First, take your wheels in to get balanced and checked.
-If balancing isn't an issue and your wheels are fine. (As was my case) Check your tires. My tires had some weird bumps along the inner surface of the tire. along with some bad alignment wear. Again this is on the inner surface. If this is the problem you will notice bumps on the tires when you rub your palm along the surface.
-Solution: new tires obviously, and an alignment which sucks if your tires still have a lot of life (which was my case). before you go and bank on this and buy new tires. I suggest you find a friend with some wheels with tires you can barrow and slap on your car for a test drive. If your tires where the problem you'll notice it gone immediately.

Good luck hope this helps. Or at least helps cross off possible causes.

also what wheel/tire set up are you running?
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Old 08-11-2012, 02:18 PM   #27
e46alfonso
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Originally Posted by E RaK View Post
Front control arm bushings, I would bet my life and my family on it.
^ +1000. He isn't even joking.

I used to have steering wheel vibrations at around the same speeds because of bad front CABs, and my car only had 85k miles, you have over 120k. I replaced the old bushings with powerflex poly, took it for a drive and holy mother of **** the vibrations were all gone . I also replaced the ball joints and took it to a good shop to replace the tie rods and they gave me a great alignment which is impossible to get right with stock bushings (they allow too much play). The steering slack was also gone and the car feels like a bmw should, a driving machine.
Everyone seems to be blaming the tires but what do you think is causing the tires to go bad? Getting new tires won't solve the issue. You will destroy them in no time because of sloppy suspension geometry.
powerflex CABs - $60
ball joints - $80 (each)
You're welcome
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Old 08-11-2012, 02:31 PM   #28
Stryker336
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Location: Philadelphia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gferrer View Post
In response to Stryker336:
What caused my shaking problem was "warped" tires. What I suggest doing is:

-First, take your wheels in to get balanced and checked.
-If balancing isn't an issue and your wheels are fine. (As was my case) Check your tires. My tires had some weird bumps along the inner surface of the tire. along with some bad alignment wear. Again this is on the inner surface. If this is the problem you will notice bumps on the tires when you rub your palm along the surface.
-Solution: new tires obviously, and an alignment which sucks if your tires still have a lot of life (which was my case). before you go and bank on this and buy new tires. I suggest you find a friend with some wheels with tires you can barrow and slap on your car for a test drive. If your tires where the problem you'll notice it gone immediately.

Good luck hope this helps. Or at least helps cross off possible causes.

also what wheel/tire set up are you running?

Thanks for the advice. That definitely sounds like a good course of action. I have the Continental ContiProContact tires. I got the car last January and replaced the two front tires but kept the rears. It may be time to replace those, which may be causing the vibration. The car has 70k miles though so I highly doubt they are the originals.
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Old 08-11-2012, 06:59 PM   #29
gferrer
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It could be the tires but like many of these more experienced guys are saying, lumps on tires can be the symptom for a bigger issue in alignment or suspension components. I am still trying to find exactly what caused those lumps on my tires. I have heard improper storage can cause lumps but mine where pretty prominent along the whole diameter on the inner surface of the tire. But bushings are on my To Do's this summer.

Another thing is the wheels with lumpy tires were 18" wheels the PO of my car had installed on the car. I've heard low profile tires can be more problematic with storage. Any input from more experienced guys on this claim? Right now with 17" style 133's the car is running very smooth.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:18 PM   #30
Kubica
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Originally Posted by Stryker336 View Post
Thanks for the advice. That definitely sounds like a good course of action. I have the Continental ContiProContact tires. I got the car last January and replaced the two front tires but kept the rears. It may be time to replace those, which may be causing the vibration. The car has 70k miles though so I highly doubt they are the originals.
ContiTouringContacts came on most xi's. Some 04's and 05's got goodyears I believe.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:24 PM   #31
Kubica
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Originally Posted by gferrer View Post
It could be the tires but like many of these more experienced guys are saying, lumps on tires can be the symptom for a bigger issue in alignment or suspension components. I am still trying to find exactly what caused those lumps on my tires. I have heard improper storage can cause lumps but mine where pretty prominent along the whole diameter on the inner surface of the tire. But bushings are on my To Do's this summer.

Another thing is the wheels with lumpy tires were 18" wheels the PO of my car had installed on the car. I've heard low profile tires can be more problematic with storage. Any input from more experienced guys on this claim? Right now with 17" style 133's the car is running very smooth.
Bad bushings, worn ball joints, or a blown strut can cause tire cupping.

I would address any suspension issues and then get an alignment so you don't cup the 17 inch tires too.
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:47 AM   #32
frickengruvin
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Join Date: May 2012
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I've got an '04 Xi, and mine came with Michelin Pilot Sports. I recently noticed some abnormal tread wear on the fronts, and discovered both my struts are leaking oil...I do notice that the steering is not as "tight" as it was when new (I'm the original owner), so I believe the worn struts have a part to the wear. At approximately 80k, I'm sure the replacement of the front end bushings, joints and tie rod ends would also return the "like new" feel to my steering...
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:59 AM   #33
gferrer
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Originally Posted by Kubica View Post
Bad bushings, worn ball joints, or a blown strut can cause tire cupping.

I would address any suspension issues and then get an alignment so you don't cup the 17 inch tires too.
My front wheels were pretty off in alignment. With the alignment done and the new to me wheel/tire set up, the car is running great. No issues. I also inspected the ball joints and the FCABs with my father in law who use to be a BMW mechanic, and he said they didn't look too bad. However I don't think the previous (1st) owner changed out any bushings so I am ordering new ones.

But before I order them id like to make sure it's not a blown strut like you say. as I'd rather focus priority (money) on upgrading the suspension. I know it's a bad question but, how can you test for a blown shock? I know when they are really bad you push down on the car and it will bounce one the spring. I feel like I would notice a blown stru while driving, but any ideas?
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Old 07-17-2014, 03:31 PM   #34
mrbitcoin
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Join Date: Jul 2014
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My Ride: 2002 325ci
Same problem...vibrations but I already replaced everything

I have replaced the control arms, got an alignment, put new ball joints and bushings in it, got new tires all balanced....now I have a vibration in the wheel? Can the brakes cause this in any way? Is it possible they installed the balljoints or control arms wrong? This is driving me nuts and costing me a lot of money.

Last edited by mrbitcoin; 07-17-2014 at 04:44 PM.
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